CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Here are some fast facts about how buying health insurance will change in New Hampshire as President Barack Obama’s health overhaul takes effect and the first insurance exchange starts operating later this year:
Q. How many people are uninsured in New Hampshire and how many of those are projected to get insurance under the exchange?
A. About 170,000 people are uninsured in New Hampshire. It’s unclear how many currently uninsured people would get coverage under the exchange since the state has not yet decided whether to expand Medicaid.
Q. How many people in New Hampshire are currently served by Medicaid and how many more will be served if your state chooses the Medicaid expansion?
A. New Hampshire Medicaid currently provides coverage for approximately 171,000 low-income children, pregnant women, parents with children, elders, and people with disabilities. An estimated 58,000 more will enroll by 2020 if the state expands eligibility to include anyone under age 65 who earns up to 138 percent of the federal poverty guideline.
Q. How many small businesses are likely to take advantage of the health insurance offered on the New Hampshire exchange?
A. There are about 23,700 small businesses with fewer than 50 employees in New Hampshire, and about 40 percent of them offer health insurance to their workers, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. New Hampshire has not projected the number of small businesses likely to participate in the exchange.
Q. How is the exchange going to be set up in your state and which agency will be responsible for overseeing it?
A. A law passed last year prohibits the state from establishing its own exchange, so New Hampshire will have a federally-facilitated exchange overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services at least for 2014. It is possible that the state will enter into a plan management partnership or a consumer assistant partnership. Under the former, the state Insurance Department would oversee the state’s tasks. A consumer assistance partnership would involve both the Insurance Department and the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The decision is up to Gov. Maggie Hassan and a legislative oversight committee, and the state has until Feb. 15 to notify the federal government of its decision.
Q. How much money has New Hampshire received so far from the federal government to do the initial work in setting up an exchange?
A. New Hampshire has not spent any federal money on exchange planning or establishment. The state was awarded a $1 million exchange planning grant in 2010, but did not spend any of these funds. A law was passed in 2011 prohibiting the state from accepting $666,000 of the planning grant funds; in December of 2011 the Executive Council denied the Insurance Department’s request to use the remaining $333,000.
Q. How will residents in New Hampshire access the exchange and what kind of customer support will be offered?
A. That hasn’t been determined yet because New Hampshire hasn’t yet decided whether it will enter into a partnership.